Outlander 3×05 Review: “Freedom & Whisky”

In case you’re wondering, yes, I did want a whole bottle of whisky after feeling my heart burst at the end of this week’s Outlander. I mean, holy shiitake mushrooms! Pardon the weird phrase, but this week’s Outlander was an exercise in amazing character writing, including the best mother/daughter scenes I’ve watched on TV in years from Caitriona Balfe and Sophie Skelton, and dang, that Scottish accent of Roger’s is still as attractive as last week.

However, I am jumping ahead, so let’s dive right in, shall we?

This week we changed it up, focusing primarily on Claire and Brianna after their trip to Scotland. The holidays are a time for family, and usually family friction, and sadly these ladies are not exempt. Brianna’s struggle to reconcile her personal history — after finding out her father was, in fact, an “18th century highlander” — is paralleled quite well in her growing disillusionment with studying history at school.

As much as I understood Claire’s reaction to Brianna deciding to move out and quit going to Harvard, Brianna wasn’t doing it because she didn’t think she was capable, or running off to make worse decisions. It was her choice to take a new path to figure out who she is, now that the entire truth is out there.

Roger’s arrival was timely, but I’ll admit to being ridiculously happy when Brianna opened the door and he was standing there, handsome as ever. Yes, I have a weakness for accents on handsome men. Sue me. Sophie Skelton and Richard Rankin’s chemistry is as palpable as ever in their scenes, and how incredibly affectionate and gentle Roger is with Brianna quickly put them in squealing-when-my-OTP-is-on-screen status.

Case in point, how freaking cute was this?

His desire to experience an all American Christmas didn’t keep his true purpose for traveling to the States from Claire for too long, as he soon comes clean with her that he found out that Jamie is alive in Edinburgh in their parallel timelines. Caitriona played Claire’s reaction perfectly, because, as much as I know Roger was expecting her to be happy, the reality is that when you hope for something and have it taken away, it’s a kind of torture to be put in a situation where you could hope again. Not to mention it’s heartbreaking for any mother — even if she has every reason possible — to leave their child behind.

Outlander plays these kinds of situation out as they would in real life — suspending the time travel element — and not as you would expect on television, which is a testament to the strength of the entire show. Claire’s point of view about her entire life is altered by Roger’s revelation. To the people who know her well, she’s a rather open book, including her friend Joe. His support after learning most of the truth is touching, and his answer of Claire’s question had me cracking up. When it comes to the past, the truth however, cannot stay hidden, as Brianna reminds her mother that they promised at the stones there wouldn’t be any more lies.

Brianna’s fear of Frank and Claire resenting her — for different reasons — was as real as anything I’ve ever felt. However, the truth washed that away, as I absolutely know what Claire said about Frank was completely on point.

The best part of the episode in my opinion, however, was Claire’s straight up statement that she loves Brianna entirely for her, not because she’s hers and Jamie’s daughter. Their relationship has changed so much in what’s felt like a short period of time but, it brought me to tears to see a mother/daughter relationship portrayed so poignantly.

Brianna is a smart, confident lady, and trusts that she can live her own life, choosing to let Claire go live hers and find the man she’s never stopped loving through all these years. Their goodbye was the hardest part to watch, because I’m not sure I could stand to voluntarily let go of my mother possibly forever, but that’s the power of Outlander. It makes you feel everything the characters feel, from Claire’s easy camaraderie and friendship with Joe Abernathy, to Brianna and Roger’s easygoing banter, to the moment Claire steps up to the print shop.

I was shaking with her when she heard Jamie’s voice, and the moment she and Jamie locked eyes, I knew that every episode with them apart had been worth it to see Sam Heughan play Jamie’s complete disbelief that it was really her, which leads to him promptly passing out on the floor, leaving a cliffhanger that makes me want to skip this week.

Outlander, you continue to surprise me by literally getting better every Sunday and this week was no exception. Bravo to everyone on this show, and cross your fingers, my fellow highlanders, that these two week speed by.

Outlander returns with an all new episode in two weeks, Sunday October 22nd, at 8pm on Starz.

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